LONDON: Malaysian Adam Akasyah clinched a gold medal in the London Winter Open jiu jitsu championship on Saturday.
The 17-year-old defeated Vasco Antonio Simoes De Souse Lobo of Brazil in the final at Crystal Palace.
Adam, who is with Marcos Escobar BJJ Kota Damansara, competed under Brasa, an affiliate of Marcos Escobar BJJ.
“I am very happy to have won this final, defeating a Brazilian, in a sport that they have created,” said Adam who was introduced to jiu-jitsu by his parents who sponsored his participation in this championship. His other sponsor is Hyperfly.
Competing in the featherweight division, blue belt Adam floored three English participants to get to the final.
“All the while I was mentally prepared and kept thinking ‘I am going to win, I am going to win, all the time.
“I was pretty nervous initially because I had taken a long break before this competition. But when I stood on the mat, I had positive vibes as I had a good team who prepared me mentally for the competition. It is most important that when you are competing, you are mentally stronger than everybody else. It is kill or be killed,” said the champion from SMK Taman SEA who is now awaiting his SPM results.
The gold medal at the London event was his seventh gold, and the second one he won outside Malaysia, after winning his first in the Copa de Bangkok 2015 Championship. For the tournaments in Japan and Taiwan, Adam won silver.
The London Winter Open success will do much to spur him on for next Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Slam London Championship at Copper Box, Olympic Park.
“It is worth all the efforts,” said Akasyah Sabri, Head of Asset Management with MRTCorp, who accompanied his son to the tournament.
Adam, who has set his eyes on the 2024 Olympics, where jiu jitsu will be an official sport, comes from a family of martial arts enthusiasts.
His mother, Haryati Yahya, is Head of Investor Relations, RHB, and is a silat graduate while his two other siblings are also into self defence.
Adam is also grateful for the support and coaching he had under Sifu Kenneth “Tiger Lam”, Mike Parry and Abang Saef Hud.